Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Bachmann's Pseudo-Christian Views on Marriage

That’s right, you guessed it. The major religion with the highest divorce rate is Christianity. Twenty-five per cent of American adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime—but divorce rates among conservative Christians are much higher than for other faith groups, according to a survey conducted by the Barna Research Group. Barna commented: "While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time.” (Here’s another stunner for you: atheists and agnostics have a lower divorce rate than any faith group! What lesson are the kids supposed to draw from that?)

And now Senator Bachmann and her fundamentalist Christian supporters have appointed themselves defenders of the institution of marriage. With their track record on divorce? How’s that for nerve? Note the irony: the pseudo-religious political lobby with the highest divorce rate is trying to prevent other people from marrying--and claims to be “defending marriage!” The clowns, trying to run the circus again!

Of course, it’s not surprising that a lot of divorced people are members of fundamentalist churches. The Christian ethic requires congregations to admit repentant divorcees, and to forgive those penitent sinners who have suffered the agony of divorce, and admit them to Christian fellowship. But most of these people are not truly repentant—by refusing to reconcile with their original spouses, these people persist in remaining divorced. They continue to refuse to honor the covenant they made before God. They remain in their sin, just as much as any practicing homosexual! Even worse are the self-styled Christians who divorce and then remarry. This, according to Jesus Himself, is adultery!

These people, heterosexual though they may be--are sinners, unrepentant sinners! Wallowing in their sin! Some heterosexual Christians are actually seeking divorce right now, and you supporters of Bachmann’s so-called Defense of Marriage Act are standing by, doing nothing about it—oh no, let’s not defend marriage in our own community, we’re all too busy chasing homosexuals! And what about you, the self-styled devout conservative Christian—Do you tolerate divorced people in your own religious community? Do you socialize with divorced family members? Do you allow your children to play with their children? You do? You condone that? With your warm, fuzzy, tolerant, welcoming attitudes toward the divorced heterosexuals in your churches and your families, you expect the rest of us to accept you as defenders of “family values?” Why is there one set of permissive rules for you and your friends, and another set of prohibitive rules that you seek to apply to the rest of us?

You know, friends--Jesus had very strong views on divorce. He was against it. He spoke against it at length, and denounced it passionately. (It must seem odd to some of the supporters of the Defense of Marriage act that He chose to include a rant against divorce rather than homosexuality in the Gospel.) Jesus said it, two thousand years ago: people who divorce and choose to remain divorced are sinning! Even if they remarry, to another. Especially if they remarry, to another. (Matt. 19:1-11.)

Divorce is not genetic, like race, or congenital, like idiocy; it’s behavior, it’s a choice, and therefore it can be called sinful. Yet many “traditional” Christians who rail against homosexual marriage are soft on heterosexual Christian divorce! You don’t believe me? What do you think would happen if Bachmann sponsored a real “Defense of Marriage” amendment; one that really defended the sanctity of marriage—by prohibiting divorce, and nullifying divorce decrees that have already been granted? There’d be panic in the pews! Tens of thousands of Minnesotans would head for the Canadian border rather than go back to their first spouses! They’d rather face hell than live with their first spouses again!

It seems to me that if fundamentalists Christians want to be taken seriously as defenders of the sanctity of marriage, they’d start by cleaning up the chronic divorce problem in their own community (instead of pursuing an amendment that makes marriage impossible for homosexuals). Fundamentalists should start their “Defense of Marriage” scheme by proposing an amendment that would make divorce impossible for heterosexuals. Then I’ll believe that their politicking is really about “Defense of Marriage,” and not just the latest example of pseudo-religious anti-homosexual bigotry.

Fundamentalist Christians can’t have it both ways; either the rules in the Bible can be modified, or they can’t. If the Christians of today have the right to divorce (despite thousands of years of “no divorce” tradition and the words of Jesus Himself) then surely gays have a right to marry (despite thousands of years of anti-gay bigotry).

And by the way—What makes you fundamentalists think that you’re the only kind of Christians who can decide which Biblical prohibitions count and which don’t, anymore? Who died and left you boss over the rest of the Christians, and the rest of us? It certainly wasn’t Jesus, if your pseudo-Christian hypocrisy and moral relativism are anything to go by. And what was that other thing Jesus said, about the mote in some other guy’s eye, and the plank in your own eye?

William Prendergast is the author of the crime thriller “Forbidden Hollywood” and uses the “Good Samaritan” standard to determine who is righteous in the eyes of the Lord.


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